A SOUTH of Scotland MSP has asked the Scottish Government what it is doing to combat the gender pay gap.
On March 4 – ahead of International Women’s Day today (March 8) – South of Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish (Labour), asked Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes what is being done to tackle pay inequalities during Parliamentary Question Time.
Ms Beamish highlighted underpaid workers in the care sector, of which she says 83 per cent are women.
She added that she was “disappointed” that the Scottish Government used the “familiar trope” of pushing blame to England.
In parliament Ms Forbes said: “For the paid carer sector, we have put in place a public sector pay policy that balances the need to recognise the efforts of our front-line workers, who have worked tirelessly over the past year, with affordability challenges due to the freeze south of the border.
“We will continue to keep that all under review, and I recognise the Labour Party’s position in relation to our budget.”
Ms Beamish also highlighted a Scottish Labour proposal that wages be increased to £12 an hour with a “phased increase” to £15 per hour.
In response to Ms Forbes’ reply, Ms Beamish said: “The theme for International Women’s Day is Leadership and #choosetochallange and I am choosing to demand more action from our Government on closing the gender pay gap.
“We must adopt policies which empower women by addressing the inequality in the labour market, improve skills development and challenge gender stereotypes. It is commonly accepted that the social care sector is underpaid and predominantly staffed by women.
“It isn’t enough to just keep the situation under review. It is disappointing to hear the familiar SNP trope that pushes blame south of the border.
“I call again on the Scottish Government to back Scottish Labour’s proposals for an immediate £12 increase with a staged phasing to £15 an hour across the social care sector.”